Povidone-Iodine Kills the Coronavirus in 60 Seconds

On May 26, a preprint* was released providing the first direct evidence that povidone-iodine, a widely used antiseptic, is capable of killing SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

As little as 0.5% povidone-iodine completely inactivated the virus in 60 seconds, comparable to 70% alcohol. Greater concentrations were equally effective but provided no additional benefit.

This was an in vitro study, testing the ability to inactivate the virus when infecting isolated cells from the kidneys of African green monkeys. Povidone-iodine is traditionally used topically, and this study does not provide any basis to suggest it should be swallowed orally, which might cause diarrhea, or worse in large amounts.

70% ethanol isn't safe to use inside the nose, as it can alter the ciliary beat frequency, suggesting functional damage to the nasal tissue. 1.25% povidone-iodine solutions also have this problem and 2.5% solutions are toxic to the nasal mucosa, but 0.5% solutions are safe for anyone who doesn't have an iodine allergy or another reason to avoid iodine. 0.5% solutions are safe to use in the mouth, nose, and eyes.

This suggests that 0.5% povidone-iodine solutions (which can be made by diluting 10% solutions, which are easily available on Amazon), can be used inside the nose with a sterile swab, nasal irrigation system, or nasal spray, and that they can be swished in the mouth for 60 seconds, to kill the virus.

I have now stocked up on this for my own use, and intend to use it before and after potential exposures to the virus, and to use it four times a day if I wind up getting sick.

I have now released Version 4 of The Food and Supplement Guide for the Coronavirus, which includes the use of povidone-iodine in this fashion.

Stay safe and healthy,

Please Support This Service

Support the service by purchasing a copy of The Food and Supplement Guide for the Coronavirus.

Get the guide for free when pre-ordering my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book.

Or, you can offer support by buying Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

Get the guide for free, get 30-50% off the pre-orders of my book, and get the Cheat Sheet for 50% off when you sign up for the CMJ Masterpass. Use the code COVID19 to save 10% off the membership price.

Here's a list of other ways to support my work: How You Can Support My Work


I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in conducting and interpreting research related to my field. Please consult your physician before doing anything for prevention or treatment of COVID-19, and please seek the help of a physician immediately if you believe you may have COVID-19.


If you aren't subscribed to the research updates, you can sign up here.


You can access an archive of these updates here.

Comments and Questions

To leave a comment or question, please use the Facebook post for this newsletter.


*  The term “preprint” is often used in these updates. Preprints are studies destined for peer-reviewed journals that have yet to be peer-reviewed. Because COVID-19 is such a rapidly evolving disease and peer-review takes so long, most of the information circulating about the disease comes from preprints.